No. of Shots
Shots on Target
Freddie Woodman, Luke Hendrie, Iain Wilson , Kristopher Ajer , Greg Kiltie, (Callum Roberts 90), Greg Taylor , Gary Dicker , Jordan Jones, Sean Longstaff, Connor Sammon, Kris Boyd.
Subs Not Used: Jamie MacDonald, Karleigh Osbourne, Scott Boyd, Innes Cameron, Adam Frizzell.
David Sneddon Jr. @ Rugby Park
The mighty Killie welcomed the newest team to the SPFL Premiership to the Theatre of Pies on a night when Killie were looking to close the gap on Partick Thistle and a top six berth in the league. Just under 8,000 Gers fans made the trip to boost the crowd to 9,548 with the East Stand looking a particularly thin on numbers. Turns out the old chant of "you only come to see the Rangers" isn't true after all.
Portuguese Pedro had taken the liberty of naming his team 48 hours before kickoff with two rookies, Bates and Beerman, installed in his defence. Jig was without the services of Rory McKenzie but was able to bring back Greg Kiltie to start his first game after a long absence with injury. Gary Dicker preferred to Scott Boyd in the centre of defence and Lee Hendrie was reinstated at right back after suspension meaning that young Iain Wilson kept his place in the team.
From the off Killie took the game to their opponents and were unlucky not to score when a Jordan Jones corner was met by Dicker for a free header that was straight at Foderingham after the now traditional conga had the Rangers defence all at sea. Kris Boyd then had a chance from a cross by Hendrie and just failed to connect properly, however the linesman had already flagged for offside.
After about 25 minutes Rangers started to come into the game and applied a bit of pressure. This resulted in their faithful bringing their symphony of colour and song (ahem) out, but no doubt the powers that be in the SFA and SPFL will have been listening to Wagner turned up to 11. The Killie defence stood firm and Freddie Woodman made a couple of good stops, but was relatively untroubled for much of the first half.
Towards the end of the half Killie got back into the game without creating a clear cut chance, but were finishing the period the better team.
Second half saw Rangers introduce renowned headless chicken (and notable egg), Kenny Miller, to try and spark some life into a vulnerable Gers team. Whilst it would be fair to say that Woody was probably the busier keeper making a superb stop onto the bar from a Wilson header, he was not really troubled too much as the Killie rearguard defended well. Jones had been given all sorts of room down the left side for Killie and his running at Tavenier was causing the Rangers defence problems, however his final ball into the box rarely found a Killie jersey.
Rangers introduced Joe Dodoo and Josh Windass (did you know he's Dean's son?) to try to breath fresh air into a Gers team sadly lacking in firepower. Garner was substituted and really should have had two yellow cards for a deliberate hand ball in the first half (no card) and a lunge at Hendrie (yellow card) which left our right back in a heap off the pitch. Waghorn had a tackle on Taylor which could have merited a red card but the Referee thought otherwise. Dodoo then contrived to get Dicker booked when the Killie man clearly never touched him as did Miller with Ajer. Both Killie players were rightly aggrieved that Muir had been conned as Rangers desperately tried every trick in the book to con the gullible referee, although Greg Taylor did manage to win a foul from Kenny Miller by falling over the ball while shepherding it out of play.
Referee Muir did stand firm and refused Rangers a penalty when it looked like Sammon had handled albeit unintentionally in the box. The Rangers players surrounded the referee in their desperation for a penalty but he was having none of it.
At this point the game it was end to end with Killie breaking but the final killer pass was just not good enough to put us in with a chance. Kiltie was tiring by this point and was replaced by Cal Roberts in a straight swap with just a couple of minutes left in the match. Rangers were by this time scrambling to save a draw with Foderingham wasting time by calling for the physio after being tickled by Boyd who was offside in any event.
The game went into injury time and the whole of the Frank Beattie stand rose as Longstaff ghosted in only to see his header pass the post on the wrong side with Foderingham beaten. What a finish that would have been for the Mighty Killie. The game ended with no goals scored and Killie venturing of what might have been. Two games to the split and a top six is still a possibility but, in truth, a long shot.
"We really took the game to Rangers. All in all, delighted with the point, delighted with the way the boys showed resilience at the end of the game as well. It's another point, it's another good point. The way we set up tonight, I thought it really worked, especially first half.
Maybe a little bit unfortunate not to nick it in the end but if we're being realistic about it, I think we'd take the point. Everyone point's a prisoner as they say."
All images © Sandy Ferguson and should not be reproduced without his permission